• Rio Tinto to develop a supply chain for new super strength aluminium alloy Amaero HOT AI
  • ‘Important step in the commercialisation of high performance alluminium alloy used in 3D metal printing’
  • Amaero HOT AI product uses Boron Nitride Nano Tube technology from PPK Group


Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has agreed to collaborate on the development of a supply chain for a new type of super strength aluminium product used in 3D metal printing, High Operating Temperature Aluminium Alloy (HOT AI).

The Amaero HOT AI product has been developed by Strategic Alloys, a joint venture between Amaero International (ASX:3DA), PPK Group (ASX:PPK) and Deakin University.

“This is an important step in the commercialisation of this high performance aluminium-scandium alloy that will be used in our breakthrough 3D metal printing technology,” Amaero International chief executive, Barrie Finnin, said.

Aluminium-scandium alloy is a metal of choice for applications that require lightweight, high-strength material with durability at high operating temperatures such as in defence and aerospace industries. The alloy is also used in sports equipment such as tennis racquets and bicycle frames.


Alloy uses nanotechnology

The new metal alloy uses PPK Group’s Boron Nitride Nano Tube (BNNT) technology which acts as a nano-reinforcement, significantly improving the metal’s mechanical properties.

BNNT products are stronger than carbon fibre, extremely flexible, excellent thermal conductors, infrared transparent, and able to withstand extreme temperatures.

They are also good electrical insulators and have applications in aviation, space travel, power generation, batteries, electronics and defence equipment.

Once the new alloy product is commercialised, Amaero and Rio Tinto plan to scale-up production of Amaero HOT AI in Australia, the US and internationally.

Amaero International is a market leader in metal additive manufacturing for use in 3D printing which enables companies to quickly produce intricate items using printers linked to computers.

Amaero’s agreement with Rio Tinto is for the development of a supply chain for its Amaero HOT AI product, and this strategy aligns with its goal of expanding its product offering of high performance alloys.

“We look forward to working with Rio Tinto to progress the production of the alloy so we can commence the qualification process with key customers in the aerospace sector and other industries,” said Finnin.


Rio Tinto to provide alloy billets to Amaero

Rio Tinto has recently started production of aluminium-scandium alloy billets and will provide this metal product to Amaero for processing into powder for 3D printing.

“As a global leader in aluminium and the first producer of high-quality scandium oxide in North America, Rio Tinto is uniquely positioned to provide a secure source of aluminium-scandium alloy to the market,” Rio Tinto, vice-president for sales and marketing, Tolga Egrilmezer, said.

Strategic Alloys is 45 per cent owned by Amaero Alloys, a subsidiary of Amaero International; PPK Group with 45 per cent; and Deakin University with the remaining 10 per cent.

The joint venture was formed in November last year when the three parties signed a joint venture research agreement for their super strength aluminium alloy project.

Amaero International holds exclusive global commercial licence rights to the patented Amaero HOT AI alloy that was developed by Australia’s Monash University.

Under the agreement, Rio Tinto will provide Amaero International with 60 to 75 tonnes of aluminium-scandium billet products with an estimated value fo $9m.

ASX share price for Amaero International (ASX:3DA), PPK Group (ASX:PPK), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO)